Naperville, IL
March 17, 2007
Story by Chris Rhoads (dustrho)


Just one week ago we were experiencing mild weather, as it was in the upper 60s, but unfortunately the weather was quite different today. It was in the lower 30s, predicted to be in the 40s by mid-afternoon, and thankfully the skies were clear.

My shuttle dropped me off at the Naperville North High School's parking lot just after 0900 hours, as that was the scheduled time everyone was asked to arrive. I quickly suited up in my sandtrooper armor, and ten minutes later I was ready to kick some butt and take names. As cars drove through the parking lot, I stopped some vehicles asking if they had seen any droids that we were looking for. Some knew what I was talking about, while others had no clue what I was saying.

There were more than eighty entries in the parade, and it's amazing how well this parade was coordinated. As we waited for the parade to start, several people came up to us asking to have their pictures taken with us, and all of us enjoyed having our photos taken with the onlookers. After hanging out in the parking lot for what seemed like an eternity, the parade started to move. I was so thankful that it was finally starting, because my body was starting to freeze up on me. It was time to thaw out and have some fun.

We all formed up with the Jedi and Rebels in the front, followed by Jim DeJan in his sweet-looking pickup truck that had all sorts of Imperial logos and writing on it. Just behind him were the TIE pilots, Darth Vader, a snowtrooper and stormtrooper, and one lone sandtrooper (me) in the rear with my Dewback prod (made by staff member Boba Binks). I believe there were approximately thirty of us who showed up, and that was one incredible presence for all to see.

The march was just under four miles in length, but with it being so windy out it seemed like a longer trek for all of us. The crowds of people watching the parade seemed bigger to me, much bigger than the turnout from last year. Even with a few small groups of people who didn't seem to care for Star Wars in general, the majority of the crowd loved every second as we marched on past.

In the end, I'd say it was a successful mission. It's always fun putting on the armor, but it's even more rewarding to be hanging out with some incredible Star Wars fans and costumers. It was another great memory captured in my databanks, and I am honored to belong to such an incredible organization as the Midwest Garrison of the 501st Legion.

Click on the links below to see the three different photo galleries.